Now before you go out and eat a Kit-Kat bar before your next workout, hear me out.
When I say “chocolate”, I’m talking about chocolate in it’s purest and least refined state. And the world’s best selling chocolate bar, the Kit Kat, does not fit these requirements (I know, I was surprised it was the world’s best selling chocolate bar too!).
You’ve probably all heard of cocoa. This is the part of a dark chocolate bar that is full of flavanols which provides all the health benefits when eaten in moderate amounts. These potential health benefits include increased cardiovascular health, improved eye and brain function, antioxidant support to help battle free radicals, and yes, cocoa can help with fat loss.
High Intensity Exercise Can Cause Free Radicals in the Body
Yes, it’s true. Even by doing one of the healthiest things for your body, you can also harm it in a way. Because of the oxidative stress placed on the body from exercise, high levels of free radicals can attack the cells of the body and create cell damage. That’s why eating foods high in antioxidants (the fighters of free radicals) is so important for cellular health. Nutrients like polyphenols and flavanols have been proven to help reduce the damage caused by free radicals in the body.
A study by Davison et al, found that 100 grams of dark chocolate (this is pure chocolate, not a refined candy bar) was shown to have the highest flavanol content.
The results of the study showed that when consuming dark chocolate, full of flavanols, pre-workout, it increased the amount of antioxidants in the body which can help reduce the amount of free radicals created during high intensity exercise. This is a good thing.
The Fat Loss Benefit of Chocolate
So what about fat loss? Can chocolate really help lose fat too? Research from Penn State by Gu et al, showed that the high levels of flavanols and polyphenols found in cocoa actually helped enzymatic activity in the stomach that supports the breakdown of fat and carbohydrates in the body. With the use of cocoa in moderation, along with a proper balanced diet and exercise, your body can be more efficient at burning fat for energy rather than storing it.
Amazing stuff I know. But before you get all excited, I need to remind you that we’re talking about chocolate in it’s purest form. In my opinion this stuff doesn’t taste as good as you may think. It has a really rich taste. Not the sugary goodness you may be used to. And please only use dark chocolate with real cocoa! Save the other kind of chocolate for Halloween!
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